SAN JOSE, Calif., Oct. 14, 1997 -- Today Hewlett-Packard Company and Intel Corporation revealed the first details of their jointly defined Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing (EPIC) technology, the foundation for the new 64-bit Instruction Set Architecture (ISA). The 64-bit ISA is the definition of the software instructions that drive the flow of operations within the microprocessor. EPIC will deliver a breakthrough in microprocessor technology, enabling industry-leading performance, compatibility and scalability, thereby addressing the next-generation 64-bit high-end workstation and server market requirements.
Today’s joint presentation outlined technical concepts of the new EPIC technology and discussed key features of the 64-bit ISA built on these concepts. EPIC, incorporating an innovative and unique combination of speculation, predication and explicit parallelism, is expected to advance the state of the art in processor technologies, specifically addressing the performance limitations found in today’s RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing) and CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computing) technologies.
EPIC technology breaks through the sequential nature of today’s conventional processor architectures by allowing the software to communicate explicitly to the processor when operations can be done in parallel. Increased performance is realized by reducing the number of branches and branch mispredicts, and reducing the effects of memory-to-processor latency. The future 64-bit Intel Architecture (IA-64) applies EPIC technology to deliver explicit parallelism, massive resources and inherent scalability not available with conventional RISC architectures.
"As future 64-bit microprocessors attempt to deliver more parallelism, performance limiters such as branches, memory latency and today’s sequential programming model will become even more significant issues," said John Crawford, Intel fellow and director, Microprocessor Architecture, Intel Corporation. "EPIC technology was developed to address these issues and enable IA-64, using the jointly developed 64-bit ISA to deliver world class performance and computing headroom. Intel’s IA-64 processors will provide performance and features required to address the needs of high-end servers and workstations, along with full compatibility for IA-32 applications and operating systems."
"The jointly defined 64-bit instruction set architecture will ultimately enable a new level of system performance," said Jerry Huck, project manager and lead architect at HP’s Systems Architecture and Design Lab. "This next-generation ISA uses predication, speculation and explicit parallelism to overcome the performance constraints of conventional RISC architectures. HP systems based on the IA-64 will surpass the performance of today’s systems while protecting customers’ software investments by remaining backward-compatible."
HP and Intel announced their joint research-and-development project in June of 1994. Aimed at providing advanced technologies for end-of-the-decade workstation, server and enterprise-computing products, the two companies’ efforts include development of the 64-bit ISA and compiler optimization.
The first microprocessor based on IA-64 -- code-named Merced -- is an Intel product being designed, manufactured and marketed by Intel, and is scheduled for production in 1999.
HP is the official information-technology hardware and maintenance supplier to the 1998 World Cup soccer tournament and the 1997 Tournament of France. Selected for its technology and skills to support and manage mission-critical applications, HP will help create an information-management infrastructure for handling game-scoring; media centers; personnel accreditation; hotel information; and various ticketing, stadium, warehouse and back-office operations.
Hewlett-Packard Company is a leading global provider of computing, Internet and intranet solutions, services, communications products and measurement solutions, all of which are recognized for excellence in quality and support. It is the second-largest computer supplier in the United States, with computer-related revenue in excess of $31.4 billion in its 1996 fiscal year. HP has 120,500 employees and had revenue of $38.4 billion in its 1996 fiscal year. Information about HP and its products can be found on the World Wide Web at www.hp.com.
Intel, the world's largest chip maker, is also a leading manufacturer of personal computer, networking and communications products. Additional information is available at www.intel.com/pressroom.
© 1997 Intel Corporation